Skip to main content
11:00 am
( harpsichord music ) man: with the advantages of the example and instruction which you could have in europe, you would be a valuable acquisition to the art, anone of theirst painters in the world, provided you could receive these aids
11:01 am
before it is too late in life, and before your manner and ste were corrupted or fixed by working in your little way at boston. narrator: an impressive letter to a young painter and from the distinguished sir joshua reynolds. could he be right? ( harpsichord continues ) john singleton copley loved his country, but he wanted the richer artistic influences of the old world. besides, talk of revolution was everywhere. political contests, he felt, were neither pleasing to an artist nor advantageous to art itself.
11:02 am
in 1774, copley left; it would make him a better painter, he thought. sad for him, sad for america: he never returned to his home. at 34, john singleton copley was already one of the best and most popular painters in the american colonies. the young american artist john trumbull said of him, "an elegant-looking man dressed in fine maroon cloth with gold buttons, this dazzling to my unpracticed eye, but his painting, the first i'd ever seen deserving the name, riveted--absorbed my attention and renewed my desires to enter upon such a pursuit." copley had more work than he could do. early in his career, he mastered the popular rococo style:
11:03 am
rich texture of laces and lush fabrics, empty faces. but like many pre-revolutionary americans, copley could not suppress his belief in individual and personal expression. ( drumbeats ) taxation without representation: copley's father-in-law, an english merchant, was importing tea to america. copley felt he could not speak out against his family, nor could he defend them. seeking his artistic heritage, he sailed for europe. it wasn't long before he became part of that heritage, a forerunner in the great romantic movement. still, the longer his self-imposed exile in england, the greater his loneliness. his children were his models.
11:04 am
the commissions continued. but his greatest masterpieces were painted while memory and imagination were fresh. ( drumbeats, lively trumpet notes )
11:05 am
in his isolation in england, copley worked harder to be america's first great painter. "poor america," he wrote, "yet certain i am she will finally emerge from her present calamity and become a mighty empire. and it is a pleasing reflection that i shall stand amongst the first of the artists that shall have led the country to the knowledge and cultivation of the fine arts."
11:06 am
narrator: ...yet george catlin had a grander dream: he was an artist in search of a cause. ( native chanting ) 1824: an indian delegation on its way to washington visited philadelphia. dazzled by their colors, george catlin wrote, "after ty took the leave, i was left to reflect. the history and customs of such a people, preserved by pictorial illustration, are themes worthy of the lifetime of one man.
11:07 am
and nothing, short of the loss of my life, shall prevent me from visiting their country, and becoming their historian." ( crows cawing ) 1830: catlin became the first american artist to document indian life. ( native chanting ) "clear the way; in a sacred manner i come. the earth is mine."
11:08 am
( birds chirping ) some years later, the artist wrote, "i love a people who have always made me welcome to the best they had; who are honest without laws, who have no jails, no poorhouse. and , how i love a people who don't live for the love of money." they trusted catlin. he was privileged to paint rituals which no white man had ever seen before: the steam baths of the mandan; sacred dancing; ( men chanting )
11:09 am
( horse whinnying ) the sacrifice; tragedy. ( fire crackling )
11:10 am
to promote the indian cause, catlin dreamed of seeing his paintings in a national museum. finding neither support nor recognition in america, catlin took his family, several indians, and his collection to europe. ( wind howling ) despite the great success of the indian exhibits, the european tour brought catlin great misfortune. burdened with debts and ill health, he sold his collection for pennies. resilient, bold, and determined, catlin returned the life he most cherished: painting the indians of the americas. "i take an incredible pleasure in roaming through nature's trackless wild,
11:11 am
and selecting my models where i am free and unshackled by the killing restraints of society." ( native man chanting ) ( piano music ) narrator: although she lived most of her adult life in france,
11:12 am
mary cassatt was steadfastly american. she painted the world she knew best, a world of quiet elegance and feminine tradition. she painted her subjects boldly and truthfully with remarkable discipline and intelligence.
11:13 am
in the 1870s, mary cassatt discovered the work of edgar degas. she later wrote, "it changed my life. i saw art then as i wanted to see it." she painted her subjects honestly, as they were. the beauty of her finest work combines mastery of the human figure with superb composition.
11:14 am
her pictures were tightly structured, composed almost abstractly. cassatt painted fields of color, patterns on an increasingly flattened picture plane.
11:15 am
somberiano music ) her study of japanese woodcuts inspired a series of etchings. in them, she found the sureness of line which she had worked so long to acquire. her themes were fragile;
11:16 am
yet her energy and force are felt in the brilliant play of her colors and the dynamic precision of her design. mary cassatt was a master. her vibrant works resound with life.
11:17 am
( banjo music ) sasman: those who wish for a leness at a reasonable price areinvit. persons wishin' a flat picture can have a likeness without shade or shadow at 1/4 price. narrator: william prior was but one of many self-appointed painters to the new republic. some, like him, were prosperous and skilled--
11:18 am
painters by profession, following the ancient tradition of the limner. others were just men and women who could turn a capable hand to many different tasks: village artisans who were also farmers, housewives, schoolteachers, carpenters, jacks-of-all-trade; or itinerants-- travelers infected with the restless exuberant spirit of early america. they would paint for lodging and a meal. many remain unknown. all were academically untrained but their eyes were sharp.
11:19 am
james bard spent a lifetime painting steamboats in new york. shipbuilders admired his accuracy, claiming they could lay down the lines of a vessel from one of his paintings. ( lively banjo music ) in 1837, a visitor to america was struck by the manner in which the imaginative talent of the people had thrown itself forth into painting. the country seemed to swarm with painters, and they left a pictorial diary of our past: ( choppy banjo music )
11:20 am
11:21 am
salesman: side views and profiles of children at reduced prices. one hour sittin', $2.92 includin' frame and glass. fancy portraits includin' pets and other details, $25.00. narrator: ralph waldo emerson expressed the spirit of many of these naive painters when he wrote, "i embrace the common; i explore and sit at the feet of the familiar. give me insight into today and you may have thentique and future worlds."
11:22 am
still others, poets and painters alike, saw visions of a future world in america. "i see a thousand kingdoms raised, cities and men, numerous as sand upon the ocean shore. the ohio then shall glide by many a town of note, and where the mississippi stamy forest shaded now runs weeping on, cities shall grow, and states, not less in fame than greece and rome." ( music )
11:23 am
11:24 am
( music ) narrator: the east buiing of the national gallery of art in washing d.c.-- built to relieve the heavily- burdened facilities of the original gallery, to house temporary exhibitions, and to serve as a center for advanced study in the visual arts. within these walls, visitors to our nation's capital
11:25 am
are drawn in to a very special place where monumental accomplishments of modern masters await discovery. built on a trapezoidal plot of land adjoining the original gallery, the east building is of a unique and radical design, utilizing triangular shapes with large interior spaces. it was a collaborative effort spanning more than ten years. director j. carter brown worked closely with architect i. m. pei in its development. seven works of art were commissioned
11:26 am
it was agreed that a specific pieceas needed to animate the unbroken expanse of wall in the central courtyard. but the artist would have to have a capacity for monumental concepts, with a sense of color and scale appropriate to the site. a unanimous choice was spanish artist joan miro. born in the catalan city of barcelona in 1893, miro has remained close to the land and its people. but as a young man in paris, he joined th friends like max ernst and jean arp in the emerging surrealist movement of the 1920s. in his painting "the farm," miro's characteristic symbols and themes began to appear: serpentine shapes, checkerboard patterns, infinite space represented by the moon or a star. in 1922, he painted "the farmer's wife," the ancestress of countless female symbols that also became a continuing motif in miro's art.
11:27 am
in 1924, his art broke free of gravitational constraints in the surrealistic world of "harlequin's carnival." over the years, he developed his own personal symbolism, and in the 1950s, the scale of his art grew with such works as a mural at harrd university and "the wall ofhe sun" for unesco in pas. as his work grew in size, miro continued what he termed "a process of simplification." he stated, "little by little, i have managed to reach a point at which i use no more than a small number of forms and colors." this process found a culminating expression in his eightoot-high painting "femme," miro entered the project with much enthusim, stating,
11:28 am
"i'll go into this and fight it through with everything i have." over many months, the tapestry took shape in his imagination. finally, in 1976 it was set down rapidly as a maquette. in the ancient catalan city of tarragona, joan miro meets with young master weaver josep royo to discuss the transformation of his painting into a 10-meter-high tapestry. studying a photograph of the maquette, they consider how best to translate miro's art into a heavily- textured weaving, which would capture the spirit of his concept. royo has an enormous task before him. in this converted flour mill in tarragona, many months of preparation are needed before the weaving itself can begin. nearly four miles of heavy cotton line is measured, stretched and chained for use as the tapestry's vertical warp.
11:29 am
royo has developed a unique loom for weaving large tapestries. it has been built to accommodate the 20-foot width and the 420-warp threads which must be accurately spaced and held in line. after all the warps have been laid out, each more than 50 feet in length, they areound sy onto a huge drum before finally being transferred to a massive overhead roller and stretched tight. on a cold february morning in 1977, the loom is ready for the weaving process to begin.

Deutsche Welle Journal
LINKTV November 27, 2012 11:00am-11:30am PST

News/Business. International news and analysis. (Stereo)

TOPIC FREQUENCY America 8, Catlin 6, Mary Cassatt 3, Europe 3, Joan Miro 2, George Catlin 2, John Singleton Copley 2, England 2, Tarragona 2, Joshua Reynolds 1, Cassatt 1, Copley 1, Max Ernst 1, Edgar Degas 1, John 1, Unesco 1, Wishin 1, Americas 1, Leness 1, Catalan City 1
Network LINKTV
Duration 00:30:00
Rating PG
Scanned in San Francisco, CA, USA
Source Comcast Cable
Tuner Channel 89 (615 MHz)
Video Codec mpeg2video
Audio Cocec ac3
Pixel width 544
Pixel height 480
Sponsor Internet Archive
Audio/Visual sound, color

disc Borrow a DVD of this show
info Stream Only
Uploaded by
TV Archive
on 11/27/2012